Trace Lysette explores There’s Something About Miriam and the “shockwave” it sent through the trans community in her new podcast, Harsh Reality.

There’s Something About Miriam was a Love Island-esque dating show that aired back in 2004 – but producers played a cruel, transphobic joke on its star, Miriam Rivera, a Mexican model, and the six men who spent the show competing for her affection.

The twist was that, while the producers and audience knew that Miriam was trans, the men did not. Her trans status was only revealed after she chose a winner. Despite desiring Miriam, fancying her, competing for her attention, all six male contestants then sued the show saying the revelation that she was trans had “a devastating effect” on them.

For Miriam, the devastation of being outed on reality TV and the brutal media treatment that followed would impact the rest of her life. She would ultimately die by suicide in 2019. Sadly, the media today is still relentlessly publishing transmisogynistic articles about trans women.

Miriam’s treatment by the TV producers and the press, and her life subsequently, is a part of trans lore. Yet her part in our history has never before been told by trans people. Until now.

Harsh Reality: The Story of Miriam Rivera is a new six-part investigative podcast that explores Miriam’s tragic story, written by author Agnes Borinsky, produced by One From The Vaults creator Morgan Page and hosted by Transparent actress Trace Lysette.

PinkNews caught up with Trace over Zoom to find out more.

PinkNews: What do you remember from watching There’s Something About Miriam when it was on TV, in 2004?

Trace Lysette: I remember my roommate, who was also trans, she was so excited to show me this dating show and show me this other trans girl, although the cringe factor was still so obvious to both of us.

I didn’t watch the whole thing, I remember watching an episode here and there. I remember watching the finale with my roommate, because she would say: ‘Girl, you gotta come in here and see this.” We were excited, but also upset that they were trying to make a joke out of desiring a trans woman.

The world was so far behind that they just didn’t get how special we are. Unfortunately, the world is still behind. I still don’t think that we’re there. And that breaks my heart.

I hope this podcast can spark some conversations about the desirability of trans women from straight men. Why aren’t they confronting that head-on in movies, in TV? In this day and age, when I see so much gender fluidity and so much representation – which has been amazing – why are we still afraid to talk about straight, cis men desiring trans women?

Les mer